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Everything You Need to Know About Miniature Oil-Painted Earrings

I get a lot of questions about my miniature oil-painted earrings and I have spent the past years perfecting this art to make it something unique to Casa Catalina Jewelry.


How Are They Made?

The methods I've employed to create the miniatures are my own, but the techniques have been used for centuries with traditional oil painting. To explain this better, I did lots of research on how oil painters used to paint on wood panel and then took that concept and applied it to my jewelry. All of the paintings I create, are done on wood panel, including the miniatures.


Every design is hand-sawn from a thin plywood which I then sand to a nice smooth finish. After applying layers of waterproofing gesso, I then transfer my design with carbon paper, and can begin painting. The oil paints that I use are artist-grade oils meaning that the quality is much higher than say the student-grade/hobbyist's paints. After the oil paintings have dried properly, roughly 4 weeks, I add a layer of UV-resistant, non-yellowing epoxy resin. This stiffens the miniatures, prevents them from warping, adds yet another layer of waterproofing, and acts as 60 coats of varnish. The reverse of each miniature is either painted with acrylic or covered in a layer of authentic 22k gold leaf, and sits in a frame hand-fabricated in sterling silver or gold.


Are They Heavy?

I became interested in incorporating paintings into my jewelry after working with enamel, a vitreous glass paint that adheres to metal via heat. The issue I kept running into with the enamel was that the earring would turn out too heavy. It is my mission to create statement earrings that can be worn all day long, so no matter what, none of my designs exceed a weight of 8 grams per earring. Throughout the process of making each, I weigh all of the pieces on a kitchen scale and if something goes over that limit, I tweak the design until it is right where I want it to be.


My 8 gram rule is something that I have experimented with personally and found that anything over that limit starts to feel uncomfortable. The kitchen scale is a tool that has become a permanent fixture in my studio and I use it constantly throughout the making process of each piece.


How Do I Store Them?

When you're not wearing your oil-painted earrings, it's best to store them in a cool, dry place, away from the sunlight. With your purchase, I provide a dark satin pouch and a rigid cardboard earring box. This is the easiest way to store your earrings. Make sure not to place anything on top of the earrings so as not to damage the hook or post of your earring. You can also hang your earrings from an earring display wall mount, but make sure they do not get sunlight. While the resin is non-yellowing and UV-resistant, the pigments of the oil paints can darken over time.


If you have anymore questions before or after making your purchase, please don't hesitate to reach out to me via email. I'm more than happy to help in any way.


Thanks so much for reading,

Caitlin

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